Cultural Acoustics

Cultural Acoustics fuses humanistic and social science inquiry, drawing on natural and experimental science, creative and philosophical discourse. This cross-disciplinary approach to anthropological research shares territory with ethnomusicology, leverages digital technologies, and values comparative explorations of perspective. I'm interested in how sound influences people, what people do with sound, and what this means for humans as individuals and social beings.
— Miriam Kolar, Ph.D.

Example Applications: Research & Design Projects

Object & Instrument Sonics
Acoustical analysis, reconstruction, and demonstration of Chimú whistling ceramics (with José Cruzado, cultural heritage ceramicist). Mead Gallery Talk: Experiential Archaeology of Ancient Ritual Vessels. An exploration of the sensory dimensionality of South American vessels in the Mead’s World Cups exhibition (Amherst College, March 2015). "Drawing on her research in archaeology, acoustics, and music ethnography, Kolar will demonstrate how ancient objects can transport our imagination and senses. Pre-Hispanic South American vessels in the new Kunian exhibition are ceremonial objects with multisensory potential, that can be appreciated beyond their visual presence, and considered as soundmaking devices and ritual tools."

Architectural Acoustics & Auditory Perception
Archeoacoustics field work at the Andean Formative ceremonial site at Chavín de Huántar, Perú a UNESCO World Heritage Archaeological Site; using the bouquet array to make acoustic measurements in the interior architecture of the Lanzon Gallery.

Outdoor Sound Transmission & Reception
Measuring and recording outdoor sound transmission during archeoacoustics field work at the Inka Administrative Center Huánuco Pampa, in the highlands of Perú.

Concert Spatial Sound Design
Performance Sound Design for premiere of composer Hoh Chung Shih's Hi-Lo Fide-Lio: Wunder mir ist so bar, performed by the Mount Holyoke College Symphony Orchestra, directed by Ng Tian Hui, Conductor. Electro-acoustic design (loudspeaker placement and equalization) based on acoustical assessment of hall and desired relationship between orchestra and recorded material as specified by composer and conductor. Concert 17th April 2015, in Abbey Chapel at Mount Holyoke College.